The Guardian: Why the sound of Ed Sheeran helps sell fries

Swedish researchers have found that specially selected songs played in a fast-food chain increased takings t’s elevator music, 21st-century style: not Herb Alpert, piped tinnily into your local department store, but carefully curated playlists generated by algorithms and used by major restaurants, supermarkets and retailers all over the world to entice us to spend more cash. In the largest study of its kind, researchers from the Swedish Retail Institute – in collaboration with Spotify-backed startup Soundtrack Your Brand – found that specially selected songs increased customers’ spending by 9.1%.

Conducted at an unnamed American burger chain in Sweden, and analyzing almost 2m purchases, the researchers compared the difference in sales when playing music chosen to match the brand with randomly selected popular songs. When playing bespoke playlists, sales of burgers went up by 8.6%, fries by 8.8% and desserts by a whopping 15.6%. The underlying message: if we like a tune, we’ll buy more chips.